Posted on April 23rd, 2017 by wombwithaviewblog.com

The male fetus on ultrasound can be a pretty easy guess sometimes! As I’ve said before, trying to guess too early can be difficult because Baby is too small. This is true no matter whether you are having a girl or boy. It can be a lot like trying to determine whether a tiny moving bug has six legs or eight without a magnifying glass. You can guess, but you may very well be wrong. However, at 18 Weeks and later, very obvious male external genitalia can be very easy to see and also a pretty funny addition to your scan.

At 18 Weeks and later, obvious male external genitalia can be very easy to see and even add a bit of laughter to your scan, especially when he’s showing off! Poor guy…he has no idea just how much we’re invading his privacy!

A mom-to-be wrote me a while back asking me for a second opinion on her images. No problem! I love it when it’s this easy. Check out her images below.

male fetus male fetus

Can you easily see this is a male fetus? I wrote her back and annotated the first image like you see below.

male fetus annotated

Even though most people may be able to easily pick out boy parts on their images, it sometimes just doesn’t look like other boy images you’ve seen. Or maybe they look nothing like your other son’s images. This is understandable to me because it’s a different baby and a different angle. No two images are going to look exactly alike! Part of the reason for this is because we all look a little different, boy or girl, right?

As far as angle goes, your sonographer might obtain a total underside view where both femurs appear in the image. Maybe Baby bent a leg just when boy stuff could be seen the best allowing only one leg in your shot. Other angles might include a shot from Baby’s front or side. All of these angles will make the image look different and maybe even unrecognizable to you.

Some sonographers don’t really explain the image and only throw up an arrow pointing out what makes your baby a male or female fetus. Don’t be afraid to ask if she can explain what’s on the screen. Most of the time, we don’t mind at all helping you understand!

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Before signing off today, I want to say my book is now in the editing phase! I’m sure I’ll have some tweaking to do, but it is currently in some very capable hands. I know she’ll help me make it as enjoyable a read as I want to deliver to you (deliver…no pun intended!). I will keep you all posted as we get closer to publishing! As always, thanks for reading!

 

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Posted on March 13th, 2017 by wombwithaviewblog.com

Deciphering fetal sex can be a very difficult job, especially when trying to read an image taken by someone else! Sometimes, it’s a piece of cake.

So often, when readers send me their images for a second opinion on fetal sex, I just cannot provide a confirmatory guess. This is either due to too early gestational age, too poor an angle, or too poor an image. Sometimes, it is a combo of all three!

Ultrasound is such a different animal because it is nothing like just looking at a photo of someone and recognizing that person. In a photo, you can see what’s in the distance or up close to the camera. With ultrasound, we cannot. We can only see exactly what is directly under the probe. It is a 2D (two-dimensional) image only, and we have to move the probe around to obtain different angles to create that “photograph” in our minds. And there are so many variables that go into creating a good ultrasound image.

Since ultrasound is completely subjective and observer-dependent, some sonographers take great images and some..well..don’t. It’s much like comparing a professional photograph to an out-of-focus, too dark, cell phone group portrait where everyone has red or white eyes. You know, the ones you always see posted on social media?

I am too much of a perfectionist. This wasn’t always a good thing when trying to take keepsake photos for patients because it caused me to run late on more than one occasion. And everyone knows people don’t like to wait in a medical office! Factors to take into consideration are maternal and fetal position, angle, magnification, depth, as well as brightness and contrast of the image. It’s a learned skill and some are simply better at it than others. Some just don’t tweak all the knobs as much as they should. Maybe they were never really taught how to do so very well.

And some things that cause a poor image are just beyond a sonographer’s control..like an uncooperative fetus, extra weight around a patient’s abdomen, or a gassy patient. This has everything to do with the laws of ultrasound physics which dictate the further sound waves have to travel, the poorer the image; also, sound does not travel well through air or gas. I’ve scanned heavier patients where I could see pretty well and thinner, gassy patients where I struggled to see at all! That said, I can tell when an image is not great or when she didn’t work with all the knobs. This can make reading an image snapped by someone else extraordinarily difficult. One image represents only one angle. Scanning real-time allows me to look from all angles possible, where I can subjectively determine my confidence in fetal sex..or whether a guess is too risky at all.

ALL that said, sometimes taking a second guess is easy-peasy. Check out the email I received from a reader about whether her baby is a boy. Her images didn’t leave much of a question in my mind:) She was just over 20 Weeks along. Can you tell what she’s having?

mama: Hello, I’ve been following your blog, and I was wondering if you could take a look at my baby’s scans and give me your opinion on gender. We were told it’s a boy, but I’ve read that girls can have parts that look similar to boys? I agree that it looks like a boy, but wanted a second opinion. Thanks!

male fetal sex

male fetal sex

wwavblogger: LOL No ma’am! Little girls don’t normally look like that at 20wks! I will wager my bet on a baby boy:) Congrats!

mama: Lol! I wasn’t quite sure but I’ve had a feeling it’s a boy from the beginning of the pregnancy!

Reader mom! I forgot to mention in my reply to you that, yes, girls and boys can indeed look similar, but that is more true between the 12-16 Week range when parts are small, just developing, and when combined with other factors that come into play which result in limited visualization!

Did you guess boy? If so, I agree! Compare the images I’ve edited below.

boy parts1-jpeg

boy parts2-jpeg

Even though it would be quite unusual for this to be a baby girl, I’m still always a bit cautious about guessing fetal sex based on someone else’s image. When I’m casting a vote for Team Blue, I like to ensure I see a scrotal sac which requires a slightly lower angle. Sometimes, you can obtain both scrotal sac and penis in the same image, sometimes not. I get a slight impression of a scrotal sac here where I placed the circle. The sac at this age can appear quite small, and testicles are not expected to descend until about 26-28 Weeks. This is why scanning real-time helps; it allows me to see Baby at all angles possible, while moving and stretching and opening his legs more.

Stay tuned! My next post will be one where a questionable and poorly technical image comes into play. Mom wrote back saying she delivered the opposite sex. Oops!

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Posted on October 20th, 2015 by wombwithaviewblog.com

I think most of you reading probably would believe that most of the emails I receive have to do with parents wanting me to confirm fetal sex..sometimes desperately so. And sometimes determining fetal sex is an impossible task.

I try to explain in my replies that my guess is only as good as the images they send me. I don’t believe it is quite understood what I mean when I say that ultrasound is entirely subjective but the person scanning has total control over the images obtained. The sonographer creates these images utilizing a number of controls to optimize the image and uses her own discretion to determine a good angle with the probe she is holding. Yes, there is a standard here but I have to brutally honest. Just as people excel in some areas of life and/or profession, some are also bad. There are good docs and bad, good nurses and bad, good cashiers and bad. That being said, there are sonographers who just do not do it well. This is a painfully obvious fact when I open these image attachments.

In addition, I sometimes use many angles, holding the probe in different places to obtain a different angle of the same area in order to determine sex. At times, just one angle is not enough to see well but only one angle can be depicted in one image at one time. I wasn’t there during your scan so I don’t know anything about the variables that could have made imaging difficult. One of my last posts on this subject can be read by clicking the links below:

http://wombwithaviewblog.com/fetal-sex/

I just know a technically bad image when I see one. Sometimes, I can tell there are measures that could have been taken to improve the image. In those cases, I can only assume your sonographer did not know how to use them or even that they existed. If the person scanning you is new to ultrasound or is a physician who isn’t trained on how to use the equipment fully (which they typically are not) the image may not appear optimal to someone who is experienced in sonography. Below are some great images of fetal sex that I’ve taken myself.

The above depicts an underside view of typical-appearing female parts from about 16-22wks. The side arrows point to labia, the middle to the clitoris.

 

Female labia in the 3rd trimester

 

Male genitalia, late 2nd trimester

 

Fetal male genitalia 3rd Tri

The above demonstrates a side view of typical appearing male parts from about 27wks on.

 

So, all that being said, if the image you send is not an optimal one, I may not be able to take a guess on fetal sex. Even if your sonographer felt she was sure of her guess, I may not be able to agree based on limitations of the image. That doesn’t mean your sonographer got it wrong, just that I cannot concur with the former guess because the image quality is not there and I didn’t observe the scan myself so I was unable to see from many different angles.

Below are the links I typically email on my posts regarding fetal sex:
http://wombwithaviewblog.com/early-gender-pics/
http://wombwithaviewblog.com/female-gender-on-ultrasound-2/
http://wombwithaviewblog.com/boy-girl/
http://wombwithaviewblog.com/boy-vs-girl/
http://wombwithaviewblog.com/twin-gender-update/
http://wombwithaviewblog.com/third-trimester-male-gender/

I hope this helps you understand a little more insight from the sound perspective!

Ta-Ta for now! Until next time, feel free to reply, comment or email with your questions on the Ask Me tab up top or at wombviewerblog@gmail.com! You can also subscribe to the right:)

 

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